Anyone with an insect phobia imagines that these creatures lurk in dark places, fangs at the ready, just waiting for the opportunity to attack defenceless humans. The truth is that they have little or no interest in devouring our quivering flesh and will bite or sting only when provoked. How then do we coexist peacefully and avoid nasty confrontations and what should we do if we do get nipped?
Battlefield or Flower Bed
The fascinating and complex manner in which Earth’s eco system works to keep our planet alive and well requires that every living creature fulfils its given role. Spring and Summer are the seasons when humanity most often comes into contact with insects that are going about the business of renewal with great and necessary enthusiasm. As flower beds come alive with fresh colour, bees, wasps, spiders and worms are every bit as involved in its upkeep as the avid human gardener. Meetings are unavoidable, but need not lead to hostile action if cool heads prevail.
When humans and insects are intent on occupying the same patch of earth, collision is sometimes unavoidable. The trick is to remember that you share a common goal. Swatting at a wasp is a sign of attack and the insect will most likely reciprocate by launching a counter attack and stinging its adversary. The result can be a nasty swelling and itch that in some cases could lead to a more serious condition.
Wasp stings account for the highest number of allergic reactions in the UK, but being allergic to this insect’s venom does not mean that the same will be true of a bee sting. They may feel similar, but very rarely cause the same reactions. However, it’s important to see a doctor if you show any signs of an allergic reaction.
Preventative measures can be simple and efficient. Most stinging insects will be attracted by bright colors and if a day of gardening is planned, then neutral coloured clothing should be worn. Instead of trying to swat at the insect, rather move out of its way. This does not mean that they should be allowed to take up residence in your garden. If wasp nests are discovered; they should be removed by experts and never by an inexperienced person.
Insect repellents are invaluable tools when gardening involves working in overgrown areas. Tick bites are seldom painful, but having this parasite attach itself and suck your blood can have really nasty results that may lead to a condition known as Lyme disease. Long sleeves and trousers are the sensible clothing choices, together with a suitable repellent. If a tick is found on the body, it should all be immediately removed and if a circular rash develops, then a doctor should always be seen. Repellents will also deter the more innocuous insects that cause more discomfort than a health threat.
Although mosquitoes are known to carry deadly diseases in certain parts of the world, those found in the UK seldom cause more than an irritating itch. Midge bites have the same effect. Repellents and the use of netting during camping trips or similar conditions will usually provide ample protection from these pests.
By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure that you minimize the chances of an unpleasant run-in with the creepy crawlies and winged terrors going about their business in the great outdoors, and make sure your relationship with them is a healthy one this summer.
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This article is intended as general information only. If you or a family member have any medical concerns, please contact your GP or medic.
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